Friday, January 30, 2015

NationBuilder - And you thought CIMS was scary

Ten years ago the Cons bought CIMS, their Constituent Information Management System, and began stuffing it with our phone numbers and adding smiley/frowny faces beside our names and whatever other info they could glean about us. The other parties had their own lesser versions. Most of us first took notice of CIMS when we learned it had been used to perpetrate election fiddling in the last election. 

Now all the parties, although perhaps not all the members, use the newer and snazzier US import NationBuilder instead. Touted as more peer-to-peer grassroots organizing than traditional top-down voter ID programs, NationBuilder "builds social-media matching into voter files so that simply knowing an email address will let the software connect a voter’s picture, bio, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn."

Perhaps we should have paid more attention to its actual name.

Here Mike Moschella, a VP at the US company, explains the five keys for its success :
  • Full social media integration means going beyond adding a Facebook icon next to a voter’s name in the file. Field staff need to be alerted when voters engage on their websites or social media platforms
  • Campaigns need to share more than address and phone data with their grassroots leaders. Precinct captains need bios, photos and other information gained from online interactions.
  • Training is needed to understand this shift in how campaigns talk with voters. A neighborhood leader will need to do more than cut a walk list - we’re moving from riding horses to driving cars.
  • Campaigns must shift focus toward capturing mobile numbers. Having an event? Text to RSVP. Petition? Text to sign. Survey? Text to reply.
  • The party infrastructure and campaign need to be in sync and must engage in the same efforts year round. Finding this data won’t occur overnight.

In March 2014, Moschella spoke at the Manning Centre. Here's a story he told [37 minute mark of podcast - transcribed]:
"For the last five years before coming to NationBuilder I worked in foreign policy in National Security so I worked with efforts around the world...You do a whole lot of work on that global police thing ... So I did a lot of work on re-imagining what an American foreign policy - a really pro-democratic, pro-democracy platform - would look like in a changing world because all these things with social media started to, despite people not wanting them, seep into what other countries were doing.  ... 
In Venezuela we ran an opposition race for a guy named Capriles against Hugo Chavez's hand-picked dictator, and they took 8-million twitter records, targeted 2-million of those people, directly talked to them on twitter with their friends -people, one friend connected to another person - and asked them to consider the pro-democracy candidate and 500,000 of those people got involved in that campaign. They probably won but the dictatorship called it 49%. But now there's a real opposition movement that's fighting for freedom in a major country called Venezuela.
In Malaysia for the first time ever, people used geo-targeting from social media to figure out where supporters of an opposition movement were and hold rallies in those slums to ask people to fight for their freedom and they created actually the first field campaign ever using a thing called NationBuilder."
It's a very interesting lecture from a believer in "social media as the personal touch of community on a grand scale" because as he insisted : "people do what their friends do".

I can't do it justice because it reminded me of Amway and the first year people sell insurance : You sell it to your friends and it only works if they in turn sell it to their friends and the product is always you. So listen to it for yourself.

After his presentation, he took questions from the floor.
Con MP Stella Ambler wanted to know how she could find out how many of her 1389 Facebook followers were actually in her small suburban riding - "Is there a way to do that?" - while noting that "our privacy laws are different in this country". 

Moschella : 
"So here's the thing about Facebook. Any time anyone takes an action, FB has three types of actions - you can share something, you can comment on something, or you can like something. And actually the terms of service of FB dictates that when you take an action on FB, that's actually a public thing. Cool, huh? 
What that allows us to do is connect those actions into your NationBuilder database. So if your FB page is connected to your site which is connected to your backend database, then we can show you how to do this - it's like a two, three minute process to get going - literally all you need is a password. Then anytime somebody shares, comments, or likes a post, it will either a)create a profile for that person in your NationBuilder database so now you own that relationship, or b) find their existing profile if they're already in there and record that they have taken that action. 
When you know all the actions that people take, then you can do the next thing which is really key to your engagement which is actually quantifying that engagement. So what you would do in your campaign, is say, sharing something on FB is worth one point, commenting is worth two points, making a donation is worth 10 points. And when you have all this together, then you'll actually see that Edward is worth 20 points and Mike is worth 50 points. So then you can sort how valuable people are in your community and really smartly target them."

Ambler : 
"So .. texting. How do you ... you don't have their cell phone numbers. Their addresses aren't on there on their FB profiles. Sorry to get into the weeds like this..."

Answer from either Moschella or Mike Martens, director of the Manning Centre’s School of Practical Politics - I couldn't tell : 
"You create a data capture system that grabs their cell phones. It's not that hard to do. You have to get organizing to get more data and it's like a cycle - it's like a snowball effect - you have to start somewhere but if you do data capture well, you'll be able to get their cellphone. Mike is going to shut me up."
"Stella, you're a member of Parliament? So you use CIMS. CIMS has all the phone numbers. So the question is whether or not CIMS and NationBuilder can integrate and once the Party starts working with the Manning Centre, and we're working with them to do that, Manning Centre is working with NationBuilder to do training and we can start training on how CIMS and NationBuilder work in a legal way regarding the privacy thing. So somebody needs to figure that out. There are legal ways - I know some of them - but we're getting into some really fine- some of these things were answered in the morning. My point is not that we can't talk about them here except-"
Ambler :  "No, I'm just so pleased to know somebody is having that conversation."

Mike ... or perhaps Mike : 
"We're thinking about this, we're working on it. NationBuilder has some reallly neat - one thing that NationBuilder is really exciting is its text capability based on being in an event like this, telling everybody text me. Well as soon as they do that, guess what - you've got their cell phone number. So then you've got to think of creative events where then that kind of conversation can occur and that's a different kind of campaign than emailing. 
I guess my point is, Stella, that we are thinking that NationBuilder has solutions. We just need to figure out how the NationBuilder and CIMS systems, which currently the CIMS system is kind of closed, but you can export data out of CIMS, load it into NationBuilder, interact with people, and then load that data back into CIMS. So that's just very superficially how these things can work but there's probably even more open ways - things called APIs that interact two systems in a live manner that might be discovered but we'll have to work with NationBuilder to figure it out."
Mike Martens : "Folks, 30 seconds before Mark Steyn's session begins ..."

h/t to Port Moody/Coquitlam Election 2015, who wrote a post on Newclear's young Con contenders that I riffed on on Tuesday, and then he added a look at the NewClear/NationBuilder nexus to his post which has set me off again...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Con candidates Go Newclear

Remember three years ago when charts like this one mapped the links between the various Ethical Oil players in the Con regime spanning cabinet ministers, media personalities, and political contractors and web designers?

The connections were based on research by Emma Pullman at DeSmogBlog and the website Deep Climate : Conservatives Go Newclear . They each discovered that Hamish Marshall, former Manager of Strategic Planning in the Office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and then principal at pollster/strategist Abingdon Research, had created and hosted some 50 Con-connected websites at his Go Newclear Productions :  “experienced in the development of both conventional and unconventional online weaponry” to “blow away your competition".

Well, funny thing ...

The Port Moody/Coquitlam Election 2015 blog was having a look at some of new young Con contenders hoping to be nominated to run in the next federal election and discovered that their very similar election websites were also hosted by Go Newclear -- home to Jason Kenney, Joe Oliver, Ethical Oil, Abingdon, and the Wildrose Party. 
Even before they bagged their nominations, notes PM/C-E 2015, some of them had already pulled some heavyweight Con endorsements.

So ... having a quick look at a couple of them for myself in two newly created ridings ...

Garnett Genuis is running in the newly created federal riding of Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan. Vice President at Abingdon Research under Hamish Marshall and like him also a former PMO staffer, Genuis had the public endorsements of Jason Kenney, Joan Crockett, Chris Warkenton, Michelle Rempel, Ken Epp, Ric McIver - Alberta's Minister of Jobs, Stockwell Day, and Mike Martens in the bag even before he was nominated. 

Wait - Mike Martens? Who dat? Former CPC Regional Organizer for BC and current Director of the School of Practical Politics, Manning Centre for Building Democracy. One might say Mertens' job at the Manning Centre is building short pantsers/Con staffers into credible candidates and campaigners. 
Genuis is a former provincial Wildrose candidate. In 2010 he went to work for the think tank Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, which advocates defunding the CBC entirely and hosts tribute dinners for Mark Steyn and Ezra.

Tom Kmiec, former aide to Jason Kenney, was endorsed in his nomination to the new riding of Calgary Shepard by Jason Kenney, Ted Morton, Stephen Blaney, and Calgary lawyer and Republican booster Gerry Chipeur.
Tom Kmiec, Calgary Chamber of Commerce :
In his most recent role, Tom was an advisor to the federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and led the regional communications outreach. Tom has also served as a political aide to the Minister of National Defence. At the provincial level, Tom served as the policy advisor to the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development and the Minister of Finance and Enterprise. Tom has a BA from Concordia University in Montreal, a Certificate of Graduate Studies from Regent University in Terrorism and Homeland Defence, and is currently completing an MA in Government Studies at Regent.
*blink*  *blink*  Pat Robertson's Regent University in Virginia, formerly known as the Christian Broadcasting Network University?  "Christian Leadership to Change the World"?   That one?  The one Bush got so many staffers from?

Seems so. Tom is featured in Regent's Aug 2014 newsletter as "full-time Canadian Ministry of Defense employee Tom Kmiec". Excerpted :
"Kmiec explained that he always wanted to expand his knowledge of the American system of government and learned about Regent University from a flyer at a Youth Republican National Convention with the Conservative Party of Canada. "Once I looked at the RSG faculty profiles and courses offered, I knew Regent was for me," says Kmiec
Kmiec wanted to learn more about how a Christian worldview connects to public policy and government.
Kmiec says he is inspired like former United Kingdom Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, to be a passionate promoter of conservative principles and tireless defender of doing what is right in public life. "As flawed as our world is, there is so much good that we can do as Christians held to the highest standards of integrity, character and morality." 
But here's a puzzle. Mr Kmiec's election website addy, also featured as a link from his twitter site, is, . If you click it, you get Kmiec. 
An odd choice. is a US Tea Party site and movement. Sarah Palin uses it, as does Ted Kruz here in his 2011 senate bid endorsed by the Koch brothers' FreedomWorks.

Garnett Genuis, I just noticed, also refers to himself as a "proven Conservative", although more casually.

Can't say I'm happy to hear this old teabagger branding and dog-whistling up here from former short pantsers turned candidates in ridings newly minted for the next federal election.

And as Port Moody/Coquitlam Election blog asks : Don't Con riding associations get to pick their own candidates anymore? Here's Jason Kenney :

I'll be adding more candidates to this post a bit later. Port Moody/Coquitlam blog continues to edit and update with more info.

Meantime you could be adding your name to the petition requesting UN election observers for Canada. 

h/t to Jennifer McMackon for her link to the Port Moody/Coquitlam Election blogpost on Go Newclear & the Cons' Youth Strategy for the Upcoming Election. Good in depth overview of the Cons' new target youth candidates/audience now they've presumably maxed out the ethnic vote. 
Feb1 Update : Ha ha. Re above question from Port Moody-Coquitlam Election 2015 on whether local riding associations get to pick their own candidates anymore. 
A further post from PM-CE 2015 notes that "a recent notice regarding the upcoming Annual General Meeting of the Port Moody-Coquitlam Conservative Electoral District Association to be held on February 14th" to elect a new board of directors and featuring an address to members by Jason Kenney... mis-spells Coquitlam four times. 
Yeah, that's likely - that the local Coquitlam riding association can't spell Coquitlam.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DILBIT does the Nebbies

The National Energy Board has sided with Kinder Morgan in refusing the Province of BC's request for more details on how KM would handle an oil spill from KM's proposed $5.4-billion Edmonton-to-Burnaby Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. 
None of our business apparently. Kinder Morgan cited "commercial, security, and privacy reasons" for their redactions.

The NEB is also rather coy when it comes to identifying the former energy industry links among the members that make up their own ranks.  NEB bios are full of expressions like "contributed to the creation and development of major energy projects" without getting into exactly which projects and companies they represent. So to augment that lack of info - here's the Nebbies...

Not to pick on "Bob" in the toon specifically here but rather than the NEB stating that Mr. Bob Vergette was once "Vice President, Operations with a major North American liquids pipeline company", it would seem rather more to the point given NEB's current Trans Mountain review to include the info that company he was VP of was Trans Mountain Pipelines - even if it was a decade ago.

NEB Chair and CEO Peter Watson - formerly Deputy Minister of the Alberta Executive Council til last June - is at least straight up about NEB priorities. Last November he explained that "the board's main job is to ensure proper construction of the pipeline" while he saw environmental concerns as more "the job of the provinces and pipeline company".

NEB Vice Chair Lyne Mercier : 29 years with Gaz Metro.

Roland George : according to NEB "worked primarily in the private energy sector for over three decades", is also a Gaz Metro alumni, and held senior positions with the Canadian Energy Research Institute, or CERI, a not-for-profit tarsands booster. 

Philip Davies : Vice-President, Law and General Counsel of SaskPower ; VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Encana Gas Storage

Shane Parrish : Manager of Business Development for Canadian Petroleum Engineering

Ron Wallace : From NEB : "At AGRA, he was involved in major oil and gas operations throughout the former Soviet Union and Russia where he managed major project assignments in conjunction with the World Bank."
Also "senior management positions with Petro-Canada and CanStar Oil Sands Ltd."

Kenneth Bateman : "VP of Legal Affairs for Enmax, a large energy distribution, supply and service company"

Alison Scott : Deputy Energy Minister of Nova Scotia and offshore oil promoter

James Ballem : former Conservative MLA and PEI Minister of Environment and Energy.

Mike Richmond : energy lawyer and Co-Chair of the Energy and Power Group at McMillan LLP; and on the board of the Ontario Energy Association.

Jacques Gauthier : one time personal envoy to Harper in 2010 for the Vancouver Olympics, served on the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service, and was "senior VP and CEO of Kruger Energy Inc., where he headed up a new division dedicated to the development of renewable energy" 
NEB bio : "Mr. Gauthier has contributed to the creation and development of major energy projects in Canada, the United States and Europe."

The only NEB member who doesn't seem to fit comfortably into the oil and gas sector insider mold is David Hamilton - Chief Electoral Officer and Deputy Minister and Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. 

Could be it's possible to be just a bit too much inside : 
NEB : Onshore Pipeline Regulation Incidents 2000 to 2012 :

"A truly captured regulator " said Marc Eliesen, a senior energy executive who once served as CEO of BC Hydro, when he quit his role as a NEB intervenor in the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tarsands-to-tankers expansion project.

This post an update to Norm Farrell's from 2013 as more players have been added since.

Collected DILBITs

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Conservative Broadsided Corporation

                                                               updated below

Noam Chomsky : "That's the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don't work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital."

All graphics from Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

I get Dr Dawg's point : "Dismantle. Then remantle out of new material" 

But I'm afraid once the goal of dismantling is achieved, there will be no remantling.
More likely, just as the dismantling is almost complete, the Cons will opt for keeping a severely controlled ConBullshitCorp limping along under an ever diminishing mantle as a useful and somewhat less ridiculous version of SunNews.

CBC is really just a reflection of our society at large - a whole lot of self-serving repetitive corporate-driven drivel interspersed with occasionally rewarded bright sparks of public-spirit, principlesand courage.

So how about we support those who splash some much-needed cold water on CBC from time to time without actually drowning the CBC in the Cons corporate cronies' bathtub :

Friday Update : Progressive Economics Forum : The CBC - the Corporate Broadcasting Corp.

Good overview of Canadaland/Amanda Lang controversy and CBC's pro-corporate evolution from former CBC insider Bruce Livesey

Predictable response and hit piece on Canadaland from Globe and Mail: 
Journalist Jesse Brown is quick to expose the failures of Canadian media. But what about his own?

Canadaland's Jesse Brown responds by publishing email exchange between himself and author of G&M hit piece. Ha!

Saturday update : Amanda Lang's softball CBC interview with Royal Bank CEO Gord Nixon on TFWs and RBC/iGate in-and-outsourcing in April 2013 was revisited when Canadaland revealed Amanda Lang is in a relationship with RBC board member Geoffrey Beattie.  
I don't really care who Lang is doing.
My own interest in Lang stemmed from her outrageous G&M opinion piece, also from April 2013, defending outsourcing while attacking her CBC co-worker's TFW coverage as "a sideshow" - a mere 10 days before Lang's scheduled keynote address at an iGate/RBC sponsored conference on outsourcing. 

Dear G&M : re your piece on Canadaland's Jesse Brown yesterday and your many "disclosures" including one on Lang's piece for your paper.
You missed one. 
The US Security and Exchange Commission - General Electric 2013 Annual Meeting of Shareholders lists Lang's beau Geoffrey Beattie as "a director of the Globe and Mail" in addition to being on the board of RBC. That bio is also repeated here.
You're welcome.
Tuesday update 
George Monbiot at The Guardian : Our ‘impartial’ broadcasters have become mouthpieces of the elite reviews the CBC debacle

Frank KollerCBC Ombudsman Declines To Review Conflict-of-Interest Policy Violations

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Banking on RoboCon - A Fractured Fairy Tale

Guest post from the Salamander - An analogy ...

Across Canada, Trust Funds & Savings accounts at 240 branches of THE BANK are robbed on the same day via electronic theft using directories, passwords & access codes shared within Head Office of THE BANK in Ottawa as well as the branches. Thousands and thousands lose all their savings and Trust Funds

THE BANK spokespersons & lawyers immediately bluster that the robberies did not happen - 'Baseless Smears' says one, over and over and over again. Then they grudgingly describe the alleged event as isolated to just one branch... and that all the other banks often allege they have been robbed... and that people who lose all their money often exaggerate. 

Banking agencies and the 'Authorities' slowly show some interest. After a year, THE BANK reluctantly states it may allegedly involve more than one branch in Guelph Ontario but if it even happened, it must have been the action of a lone perpetrator - perhaps the bank volunteer who's name they have already leaked to newspapers and TV media. Most all the bank staff from that branch have left the country or soon arrange 'immunity'

The funds are NEVER RECOVERED.. and there is ZERO REFUND for THE BANK's thousands and thousands of clients. After several years of investigation the closure rate is left at 1 out of the 240 criminal fraud cases. The remaining 239 'cold cases' are declared unsolvable by The Banking Authorities & THE BANK cites the conviction of a single person as a great victory for Crime & Punishment & THE BANK. New banking secrecy laws are passed to make this so.

Now my question for erudite and non partisan pollsters is ..

After all this, do you know anyone 'Crazy' enough to keep their money in a branch of THE BANK ?

Request UN election monitors/observers for Canada


Friday, January 02, 2015

Poll : 23% of us are Con loonies

                                                                        updated below

Ottawa Citizen : Some say PM could justifiably shut down Parliament in crisis: survey
"A small but growing minority of Canadians says the prime minister would be justified in closing down Parliament and the Supreme Court in the face of “very difficult times,” according to a survey
What a fabulously leading survey question! Who wants to know this?
It found 23 per cent of respondents said the prime minister would be justified in shutting down Parliament when the country is facing a crisis or “very difficult times,” and 17 per cent would accept dissolving the Supreme Court for the same reason. 
Keith Neuman, executive director of Environics Institute, said he couldn’t explain the findings. "
Here's a wee bit of a clue, Keith. That 23% who are happy to shitcan Parliament and the Supremes under "very difficult times"?  It's not near a quarter of Canadians - it's just the 349 Con voters out of the 1517 Canadians you interviewed .
24% self-identified as "right wing" this year in response to your question on page 29 for the Americas Barometer survey : "According to the meaning that the terms 'left' and 'right' have for you, and thinking of your own political leanings, where would you place yourself on this scale?" 

This, as it happens, is about the same proportion of eligible Canadian voters that voted Con in the last election after Harper had already shut down Parliament twice. "Difficult times" is apparently code for not wanting to answer difficult questions in the House.

The article also makes mention that this 23% of people happy to shitcan Parliament and Supremes has been "inching up" compared to the 2010 and 2012 surveys. Given that less than half of the 1500 surveyed in 2010 and 2012 were asked this question, I'm not sure how it's possible to determine that percentage is "inching up", but yes, indeedy in 2010, 83 respondents thought it would be justifiable to close Parliament while 70 thought dissolving the Supreme Court would also be just fine. 

I must say the 2010 survey seemed a lot more fun -- particularly their inclusion of a number of leading questions about whether a military coup would be justified in Canada if there was "lots of corruption" - 264 said yes, or "lots of crime" - 226 said yes. The stats :
Coup justified - lots of corruption
264 - A military take-over of the state would be justified 
474 - A military take-over of the state would not be justified
4 - Don't know        1 - Skipped              757 - Not Asked
Coup justified - lots of crime
226 - A military take-over of the state would be justified 
513 - A military take-over of the state would not be justified 
4 - Don't know            0 - Skipped            757 - Not Asked
Really? More than a third of those you asked thought a military coup would be justified in Canada?

Exactly who needed to have this kind of info about Canada in 2010? Why were over half "Not Asked"?

Another set of questions from both 2010 and 2014 inquired whether people who disagree with our form of government should be allowed on television or to vote or to run for public office. And what survey on governance would be complete without those 85 Canadians who answered affirmative in 2010 to the statement : "We need a strong leader who does not have to be elected" ?

I don't blog polls anymore because they're pretty much just noninfotainment when they aren't outright push polls - but the Citizen/Global has eked a half dozen stories out of this one survey in the last week, including one with the entirely misleading headline : "Majority of Canadians worried about potential voter fraud, study finds". 
As the 50+ commenters below it point out, it's not non-existent voter fraud we're worried about - it's election fraud for the third time in a row. 

Note : For the 2014 survey, in addition to the 24% righties, 15% of respondents self-identified as "left" and 61% as "middle" in Canada. This was the lowest percentage of self-identifying lefties of the 27 "Americas" countries surveyed, minus the USA where the question was not even asked. The gender split in Canada was 50/50 with approximately 60% of respondents between the ages of 30 and 60.

h/t CC

Sunday update : Dr. Dawg takes issue with my scepticism re the Americas Barometer survey and the signs of fascism inherent in some of its findings. I left a comment there which I'll expand on a bit here. 

It isn't that I think that Canada is immune to fascism - certainly history has shown that if the public sphere is set up to only reward bastards, eventually many of us will fall in line and become bastards to each other - and it does seem the neoliberal corporate experiment we have all been living under these past few decades has grown increasingly tired of our noisome plaints about rights and freedoms.

Rather, my scepticism re the survey is based on its questions having originally been designed for the US's southern neighbours - hence its name : Latin American Public Opinion Project - and that its principal funding comes from USAID, recently featured in the news for running covert disinformation campaigns in neighbouring countries, presumably on behalf of US interests.

The Canadian affiliate and sponsor of the Canadian portion of the survey, the Institute on Governance, is "an independent, not-for-profit public interest institution with a mission to advance better governance in the public interest through exploring, developing and promoting the principles, standards and practices which underlie good governance in the public sphere."

Ok ... except the board is chaired by the Deputy Minister of Industry Canada whose IoG bio touts his oversight of the dismantling of the Wheat board, while IOG VP of Public Governance did the same under Deputy Minister of Transport Canada for the Navigable Waters Act ... so yes, I'm thinking their mission of "good governance in the public sphere" might have rather more to do with privatization and gutting enviro legislation.

Also I'm sceptical as to why Canada has been included for the last four surveys in what was originally a USAID project aimed principally at Latin America and why a PostMedia paper has now run six separate stories touting the results of this year's survey without mentioning that.

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